Good morning from a wintery Foxford. Yesterday we had some serious rain, (the river is now at 3.2m at Ballylahan bridge!) and tomorrow we will have Gale force wind and more rain. This morning is OK, must be the calm before the storm. I was planning to go Pike fishing at the weekend but that is not looking good. Its something I have been looking forward to. I have fixed up an old boat and am excited about trying it out, however I don’t need a storm for the “Sea Trials” .
A few weeks ago I asked for some suggestions on subjects to write about in the Friday blog. One Angler, a customer from Dublin suggested that I do something on trout angling but not using the fly. Its a big subject and not something one can go into in much detail in a short blog. Here’s a few tips for the angler who wants to try a little bit of spinning for a trout.
Which Lure to try: I have already referred to the fact that Lure angling has come a long way and we now have many different lures to choose from when we want to fish for trout. With such a large selection to choose from knowing which lures to use where you fish will only come with trial and error. From experience I can tell you that on the Moy and its tributaries one bait has stood the test of time and is still as popular and effective today as it was fifty years ago, “The Mepps”, it is a very well known spinner. Mepps is actually a brand name for a range of spinners which originated in France. These spinners come in a lot of different sizes and models.
Which Model of Mepps is best: The Comet and The Black Fury are both excellent trout spinners and come in a variety of colours and sizes. The models we have found popular and that we know work very well are Gold & red spot and Silver & blue spot in the “comet”, the “Black fury yellow spot”. For trout the smaller sizes seem to be the most effective No.0 to No.3. While fishing on a stream or river I would opt for a No.1 or No.2 to start and if things were difficult drop down to the tiny No.0. On the Loughs the No.2 and No.3 seem to work best. The Comet Silver with blue spots is very good for sea trout while the gold and red spot works well for brown trout especially when there is a little colour in the water or on a dull day. The Black fury is very good in clear water and on bright days. Mepps have a new range of Tru-V (UV) colours which im sure will also be very good. While I am suggesting these spinners for trout other fish will of course take them as well and sometimes in low water conditions they work well for Salmon, even in these smaller sizes. I would say the choice of which model and size to use is determined by the “general conditions” these include weather and water conditions.
Weather conditions: weather is another big factor in the successful angling equation. In general anglers prefer the weather to be Dull but not to dark with occasional periods of sun (just for the opportunity to wear the shades) interspersed with a moderate amount of cloud cover, an occasional shower, wet but not very wet (certainly nothing to test the waterproofs) in a moderate south to south west wind (that does not affect casting ability) YEAH! It happens about once a year and at all other times we have to adapt. If it is cold we fish a little slower and deeper, if it is sunny we find shade or fish early morning and late evening, if it is windy we get the breeze on our back. The secret is to be prepared.
Water condition: Water conditions are possibly the single biggest factor. The condition of the water whether High ,Low, Rising, Falling, Clear or Coloured will have a huge bearing on the behavior and feeding pattern of the trout as well as where they are most likely to be found. It is always something we should check before angling. This becomes intuitive and is second nature to experienced anglers, most of whom you will notice leaning across bridges or stretching their necks to see across the parapet as they drive over any bit of water. It is well worth making notes and keeping a diary of your local water.
A few general things to remember are.
Stealth: The first rule of trout fishing is stealth. This is particularly true on a clear shallow stream. Trout will see you on the bank and are gone in seconds, vibration and noise will also frighten them easily. Move slowly and with care, stay low and use the bank side vegetation as cover.
Where to cast: Trout tend to lie pretty close to the bank or in pockets of water near a rock or other submerged feature that diverts the current. They will very often be found near bushes or trees where various flies and other insects are likely to end up in the water.
Angle and speed of retrieve: Try to cast at different angles to cover different possible lies. Vary the speed of retrieve and slow down a little as the lure comes close to the bank. Trout will very often chase a spinner and it’s only when it slows that they attack. Casting upstream and retrieving with the current can make the spinner appear to be tumbling through the water, something trout react well to.
Think of the future: Lure fishing is good fun and like all other methods on the right day it can be very productive. When you do hit this magical day, think of the future and don’t kill everything. It is nice to take a trout for the pan and I have nothing against that but no need to feed the village.
Care: Always carry a forceps to remove hooks and a priest to dispatch fish promptly
While preparing this piece I got to thinking about Rivers and streams I have fished. One of the biggest difficulties I ever encounter is bank side condition and access. The ability to get onto the bank near the water or into the water if necessary along and with the ability to cast is crucial and not always easy . Its not such a problem in popular spots where others have beaten a track for us but in a remote location that’s not heavily fished it can be a nightmare. A huge amount of our streams and little rivers are overgrown. I don’t disagree with giving nature a chance to recover; farming practices and land use have been hard on it. I do believe that the I.F.I and whatever other authorities need be, lead the way and encourage anglers, clubs, land owners and the general public who could get use and enjoyment out of these places to open up proper access. Not just for angling, there is lots of ways to enjoy a river bank. Rant finished 🙂
Remember: Don’t be “The Gobshite”, Leave no trace.